Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 | 2:40 p.m.
A trial set to start next week for Thomas Mendiola, a Metro Police officer charged with supplying a gun to a convicted felon, has been delayed until April.
At a hearing Thursday morning, Mendiola’s attorney Elrich Smith told District Court Judge Douglas Herndon that he wasn’t ready for the jury trial that was set to begin Monday.
Instead, Mendiola, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of disposing a firearm to a prohibited person, will have his trial starting April 30.
“I just wasn’t quite prepared, and this case is very important to my client,” Smith said.
Mendiola, one of three Metro officers who shot and killed Erik Scott at a Costco in 2010, was relieved of duty without pay in January pending the outcome of an investigation after he was accused of giving a firearm to a convicted felon as a gift for working on his car.
Mendiola, William Mosher and Joshua Stark shot and killed Scott on July 10, 2010, outside Costco after authorities say Scott pointed a gun at police. A Clark County coroner’s inquest jury ruled in September that the three officers were justified in the shooting.
According to a criminal complaint, Mendiola gave a .22-caliber Ruger handgun to Robert Justice, 45, as a gift for working on his car in August 2010. Justice has convictions for two felony offenses and is prohibited from possessing firearms, authorities said.
Mendiola had met Justice in July when Justice first worked on Mendiola’s car, the report said. Justice told police Mendiola gave him the gun, an extra magazine and a box of ammunition as a gift.
Justice later sold that gun and a .357-caliber handgun to an undercover detective, the complaint said.